Ideas For Creating More Effective Webinars

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The following is a guest post by Future Buzz community member Kathryn Kilner.

Marketers are constantly developing and revising content and community marketing initiatives to build relationships with prospects that lead to sales. Many B2B companies are finding that webinars can ignite that process. For example, Adam’s recent Webinar run with Vocus attracted more than 3,000 registrants and 1,000 attendees and is part of an ongoing series for the brand.

While some webinars just spark an exchange of information that is extinguished at the close of the webinars, others fuel a series of conversations that add opportunities to the pipeline.

Frost and Sullivan recently examined webinars in depth and found that the development of a community through webinars was an effective tactic for marketers to captivate their audience and fill the sales pipeline. In particular, offering a series of thought leadership presentations can create an engaged community that nurtures interested audience members over time into qualified leads.

Here are 5 tips for to help you get started with a community marketing effort powered by webinars:

1) Come up with a consistent content schedule that aligns your product offerings with current industry updates.

Without a long-term plan in mind, your webinar schedule can suffer from inconsistency and a lack of direction. Promoting a single webinar yields marginal gain when the content may not be relevant to the audience or follow-up falls through. Creating a series enables an audience to find the webinar that is relevant to them. Grouping your webinars into identifiable categories can also help your audience find additional webinars, enabling sales to reach out to them after any of these interactions and minimizing the chances that a good lead turns to ashes. Connect your webinar theme to a new product/service or an important industry trend to create more buzz around your series.

2) Promote your webinars through multiple marketing outlets.

Now that your calendar is set, it is time to put together a plan for promoting your webinar series. Identify the segment of your email database that is relevant to each of the webinars in the series and consider ways to further segment your list and your message to make your content relevant to your audience. Post about your series on your social platforms and blog in a coordinated fashion. Be sure to include an abstract and sharable headline for the webinar and explain how the information presented will help your audience boost their business efforts.

3) Don’t just create quality content: make it relevant and meaningful to a specific audience.

Once you have your event and promotion calendar, it is time to develop the content of your webinars. Designate a knowledgeable moderator for each presentation who can field questions for the presenter(s). Also, make sure that your content matches your title and abstract as audience members become frustrated if they sign up expecting one topic and hear about something else when they attend.

4) Use technology to build a community.

The functionality of the webinar platform can also enable a community to form around the content. Offering one-time registration, for example, reduces the barrier to viewing multiple webinars. Place other content assets, such as whitepapers, blog posts or even demos alongside the webinars by embedding your webinars on your corporate website which will help users dive deeper. The webinar player itself can further facilitate engagement with your content and participation in the community.

5) Analyze audience behavior to identify those ready to hear from your sales team.

You’ve now created a calendar, promoted it to your target audience, executed a number of thought leadership presentations and begun to build a specialized community full of professionals eager to hear your message. What’s next? Identify who is ready to hear from your sales team. Just because someone attends a webinar does not mean that they are ready to buy from you. Learn about your audience and compare the demographics of your audience to the demographics of your ideal lead.  Your sales team will be grateful if you don’t waste their time by passing every attendee to them but rather identify those who are not just willing to take a call, but appreciate it. Anyone who isn’t ready for a conversation with sales can be invited to the event, so that you are top of mind when they become more ready to buy.

Developing a full content calendar and releasing new webinars with frequency creates a robust asset library that becomes a go-to destination for your community. Webinar technology can unite your community strategy with your content strategy to not just spark a single conversation, but set the sales funnel on fire.

Kathryn Kilner is a marketing manager at BrightTALK, a webinar and video solution for professionals and their communities. You can find her presenting on the BrightTALK Academy and writing on the BrightTALK blog. Follow Kathryn on Twitter at @KKilner.

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